The importance of comfortable and properly fitting shoes is something that cannot be stressed enough. We spend the majority of our days on our feet (and hence, in our shoes), which is why it’s so important to invest in the right pair. Now, when it comes to the best footwear for flat feet—also known as fallen arches—it becomes all the more important to purchase a pair that properly holds on to the foot and offers sufficient arch support.
According to Debra Young, DPM, a Chicago-based podiatrist, there’s a common misconception that flat shoes are better for flat feet. That depends, however. If the foot is flexible—i.e., it can be moved in most of the joints comfortably—then a heel is actually better because it can reduce the amount of overpronation. As she explains, “overpronation reduces the ability to absorb shock while walking and running and causes fatigue and pain,” which is something that can be avoided if the heel is lifted a bit.
As for the recommended heel height? “About 1 to 1.5 inches seems to work best,” Young says. Other things to look out for when shopping for the best shoes for flat feet? Pick a style that offers more coverage and structure. And while the price tag on some of the shoes may seem steep, Young explains, “Spending more on shoes usually is wise—it is one of the last things that you can buy quality and you will get you what you pay for. They will fit better and last longer.” Read on to shop for the best sneakers and low-heeled sandals for flat feet that are as comfortable as they are stylish.